The fight over Palestine (Dan 11:15-11:17)

“Then the king of the north

Shall come.

He shall throw up

Siege works.

He shall take

A well-fortified city.

The forces of the south

Shall not stand.

Not even his picked troops

Shall stand.

There shall be

No strength to resist.

But he who comes

Against him

Shall take the actions

He pleases.

No one shall withstand him.

He shall take a position

In the beautiful land.

All of it shall be

In his power.

He shall set his mind

To come

With the strength

Of his whole kingdom.

He shall bring terms of peace.

He shall perform them.

In order to destroy the kingdom,

He shall give him

A woman in marriage.

But it shall not succeed.

It shall not be to his advantage.”

Then the king of the north, King Antiochus III (222-187 BCE), took possession of the beautiful land of Israel or Judah. He would set up a siege against the fortified city. The southern forces from Egypt would not be able to stand up against him, even their special troops were not good enough. No one had the strength to resist. He set his mind to it and he was able to do it. Then he arranged a peace treaty. King Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra to the young King Ptolemy V (204-181 BCE) in marriage in 194 BCE, but it did not work.

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Daniel’s words went to God (Dan 10:12-10:12)

“He said to me.

‘Do not fear!

Daniel!

From the first day

That you set your mind

To gain understanding,

To humble yourself

Before your God,

Your words

Have been heard.

I have come

Because of your words.’”

This man told Daniel not to be afraid.   God had heard his words from the first day that he set his mind to try to  understand things. Daniel had humbled himself before God. The very words of Daniel himself were the main reason that this man was there. Perhaps, this was the angel Gabriel responding to requests sent to God.

Pride led to his downfall (Dan 5:20-5:21)

“But when his heart

Was lifted up,

His spirit

Was hardened.

Thus,

He acted proudly.

He was deposed

From his kingly throne.

His glory

Was stripped

From him.

He was driven

From human society.

His mind was made

Like that of an animal.

His dwelling was

With the wild asses.

He was fed grass

Like an ox.

His body was bathed

With the dew of heaven.

Finally,

He learned

That the Most High God

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdom

Of mortals.

The Most High God

Sets over it

Whomever he will.”

Daniel reminded this King Belshazzar of what had happened in the preceding chapter of this work to his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, with his hard-prideful heart. Thus, the Most High God deposed him of his kingly throne and stripped him of his glory. The king was driven from human society, as his mind was like that of an animal, living among wild asses. He ate grass like an ox. He was bathed with a heavenly dew. He finally learned that the Most High God ruled over the kingdom of mortals, because God decides who will be in charge.

The bronze man (Ezek 40:3-40:4)

“When he brought me there,

A man was there.

His appearance shone

Like bronze.

He had a linen cord

With a measuring reed

In his hand.

He was standing

In the gateway.

The man said to me.

‘Son of man!

Look closely!

Listen attentively!

Set your mind

Upon all

That I shall show you.

You were brought here

In order

That I might show it

To you.

Declare all

That you see

To the house of Israel!’”

Who was this bronze man? He was not a comic book superhero, but a man that appeared to be bronze. Was he a deeply tanned man? Was he an angel of God? Was he God himself? Many have interpreted him as an angel or messenger as in other later Second Temple literature. Genesis, chapter 18, has similar appearances of men who were either angels of God or God himself. Anyway, this bronze man greeted Ezekiel at the gateway. He had in his hand a linen cord to measure short distances and a measuring reed to measure long distances. Then this man also called Ezekiel the son of man, just like Yahweh had. This bronze man told him to look closely and listen attentively. He was to keep his mind focused on what this guy was going to show him. After Ezekiel had seen this, he was then to tell the house of Israel about it. For the next few chapters, this bronze man will be the guide who measured the Temple for Ezekiel.

The death of the prince of Tyre (Ezek 28:6-28:8)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You compare

Your mind

With the mind

Of a god.

Therefore,

I will bring strangers

Against you.

I will bring

The most terrible

Of the nations.

They shall draw

Their swords

Against the beauty

Of your wisdom.

They will defile

Your splendor.

They shall thrust you

Down to the pit.

You shall die

A violent death

In the heart

Of the seas.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was upset because the prince of Tyre had compared his mind to that of a god. Thus Yahweh was going to bring strangers, the most terrible of all the nations, against him. They would draw their swords against his beautiful wisdom. They would defile his splendor. They would throw him into the pit with a violent death, right in the middle of the high seas. He would sink and drown.

False worship (Jer 32:34-32:35)

“They set up

Their abominations

In the house

That bears my name.

They defiled it.

They built

The high places of Baal

In the valley

Of the son of Hinnom,

To offer up

Their sons

As well as their daughters

To Molech.

I did not command them,

It did not enter my mind

That they should do

This abomination,

Causing Judah to sin.”

The major fault of the Israelites and Judeans was their false worship. First, they defiled the Temple, the house of Yahweh, by placing these false idols in the Temple itself. Then they also built the high altars for the false god Baal. Finally, they were offering up their sons and daughters to Molech in Hinnom valley, outside Jerusalem, that later became known as Gehenna or hell. Molech was a Canaanite god that demanded child sacrifices, who was specifically mentioned in Leviticus, chapter 20. Once again, Yahweh, as in chapter 19, said that he had not commanded or had it even entered his mind to ask for child sacrifices. Clearly, this worship of false gods and sacrificing children was against the will of Yahweh.